13 Unique Toppings For Gourmet Burgers

Burgers are a true American classic — the all-rounder that can be tailored to suit any occasion, from an easy midweek dinner to a barbecue garden party. But we are often guilty of relying on the same old toppings of mustard, ketchup, and mayo when there is a whole world of exciting toppings to be explored. Adding an unusual new topping to your gourmet burger can take it from a tasty meal to a culinary masterpiece. Yet, it is still familiar enough to keep the whole family happy. From fresh options like beetroot or chimichurri to lavish toppings that create a mouthwatering feast — fajita burger, anyone? — there are delicious ingredients to suit every palate and mood.

Whether you're looking to keep your family happily fed or cooking for a crowd during the next ball game, we've got you covered. Join us as we explore gourmet burger toppings that will transform your usual beef patty into something extraordinary. Grab your apron and spatula, and let's get started.

Romesco sauce

When you think of sauces to top your beautiful patty, Romesco sauce may not be the first one that springs to mind, but once you've tried it, you will change your mind. If you've never tasted Romesco sauce, now is definitely the time to treat your taste buds to it. Originating from Catalonia, Romesco is a quintessentially Spanish sauce, full of flavors from tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic, and olive oil. The beauty of Romesco sauce topping on a burger is that it is familiar enough to the usual ketchup or barbecue sauce, with its smoky notes and rich taste, but has a complex flavor to take it to the next level.

Whipping up a batch of Romesco sauce at home is pretty straightforward. Roast some bell peppers and tomatoes with garlic and toast a handful of almonds, then add them all to the food processor with paprika and sherry vinegar. Blitz until smooth and thick, then smear across the top of your cooked burgers or store in the fridge until they are ready. By treating the Romesco sauce as a ketchup substitute, you can still add your favorite toppings, such as cheese, pickles, or lettuce. The result will be a stunning, well-balanced dish that will transform your usual pedestrian burger into a gourmet delight.

Roasted mirepoix

If you're used to making sauces and stews, you may be familiar with mirepoix. It may sound like something extremely fancy, but it is simply the name for diced vegetables that make up the base for soups and sauces. Consisting of finely diced carrot, onion, and celery, it may not seem like an obvious match for a burger, but Chef Alex Guarnaschelli's game-changing roasted burger topping will make you think otherwise. 

By roasting these ingredients in the oven, the flavor will change as the natural sugars caramelize to create a delicious mix of sweet and savory flavors that will be perfect on a burger. If you've ever had slightly charred sweet potatoes alongside your Sunday roast, you will understand how well that type of flavor goes with a rich piece of meat, and your burger is crying out for the same treatment.

Making the burger topping is simple — dice some red or white onions, carrots, and celery, then roast in the oven at 365 degrees Fahrenheit for around 15 to 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them toward the end — there is a big difference between beautifully caramelized and burnt! Add the roasted mix to your juicy burger, along with some ketchup and pickles, which will balance the sweet and salty notes of the dish. If you love this topping as much as we do, consider preparing a large batch of the mirepoix in advance and freezing it in individual portions.


If you want to add a tangy element to your burger without too much spice, kimchi is a great topping for an elevated bite. This Korean condiment, made from fermented vegetables — most commonly cabbage or radish — is a great way to add a burst of flavor to any dish. Its salty, sweet, and umami flavors create a party for your taste buds. If you fancy an adventurous project, making your own kimchi at home is totally doable, and you may already have all the ingredients in your store cupboard and fridge. 

It essentially involves slicing your chosen vegetables, making an aromatic liquid including sugar and fish sauce, and pouring it over the veggies before sealing it in a mason jar. The only caveat is that you will need to make it in advance, as it takes up to two weeks to fully ferment. If you want to continue with the Korean flavor party, try adding doenjang — the Korean version of miso — to your mayonnaise as a unique substitute. Incorporating these bold flavors into your burger topping will elevate a simple dish to something extraordinarily delicious.


If you've never had an egg on top of your burger, it may be time to reevaluate your life's priorities. Beef burgers and eggs were made for each other — the sensory delight of a runny yolk oozing down the side of the meat as you tuck in is difficult to beat. Is it messy? Absolutely. Is it worth it? You better believe it!

The best way to use egg as a burger topping is to fry it sunny side up. Not only will you get the visual satisfaction of the yolk on the beef patty, but the fried egg will also sit perfectly on top of the burger, allowing the yolk to self-sauce the dish when it bursts as you take your first bite. Of course, this doesn't mean you can't add other condiments, like ketchup or mayo, which can mingle brilliantly with the vibrant yolk as it makes its way down the burger (and your chin!).

Fried eggs are not the only option if you're not a fan of the flavor or mess involved. Poaching the egg gives a different texture, especially if you cook it slightly longer. You will still get a soft and enjoyable yolk, and it is more likely to stay put on the burger. Scrambled eggs will work in terms of flavor, but it may be a challenge getting them to stay in place. However you cook your eggs, they are a great way to add a rich flavor and texture to your burger.


Burgers topped with fajitas? Well, you do the delicious math. If you thought that fajitas could only be paired with flour tortillas, you're missing out on the vibrant combination that fajitas-topped burgers bring. The crunchy onions, sweet bell peppers, and smoky tomato sauce are the perfect combination to take your burger to unbelievable new heights.

The beauty of using this as a burger topping is that, just like regular fajitas, it can pair with so many different types of burgers. Spicy fajitas on a beef burger are, of course, a perfect match, but they complement chicken burgers, fish patties, and even plant-based burgers, such is their versatility. The key to getting as much flavor as possible into the topping is to cook the vegetables with lots of bright ingredients, including lime juice, garlic, and as much fresh chili as you can handle. Remember, the majority of chili heat is in the membrane and seeds, so be sure to remove them if you prefer your spice on the milder side.

When constructing your fajita burger, it would be sacrilege not to include the usual fajita accompaniments. So slather plenty of sour cream and grated cheese on top before sprinkling some fresh coriander to finish the whole thing off. The next time you're wondering what to feed your hungry family, give fajita burgers a try. Watch their eyes light up as they tuck into a burger that combines two of their favorite meals into one.


If you are hankering for a burger on a hot summer's day, why not embrace the sunshine and opt for an Aussie burger? Topped with earthy beetroot and juicy pineapple to balance the rich, meaty burger, your taste buds will be treated to a summery flavor fiesta. Beetroot is a common ingredient in Australia, featuring in salads, soups, and even pasta. While there are suggestions that the concept of the Aussie burger originated as a prank on U.S. troops when they visited Australia, the idea has firmly stuck. You are unlikely to find a restaurant in the country that doesn't offer beetroot and pineapple as a topping.

Canned versions of both beetroot and pineapple are standard for this burger, but you can, of course, use fresh ingredients instead. These toppings alone make a delicious and healthy accompaniment, but if you want to go full Aussie, there are a few more ingredients that make up "the lot." Crispy bacon and fried egg complete the traditional topping, creating a mammoth burger that will be an assault on your taste buds but a very satisfying meal. If you can fit this substantial burger in your hands, never mind your mouth, you will be doing well.

Blue cheese

Cheese is a pretty ubiquitous topping for the mighty burger, and for good reason. A piece of cheddar or American cheese melted over the top of the meat until gooey is the crowning glory on a perfectly grilled patty. If you're looking to up your cheese game, though, trying a blue option instead will give you the same silky texture but with a bigger burst of flavor.

The great thing about this blue cheese-stuffed burger recipe is that you can vary the strength of flavor depending on what cheese variety you buy. The distinctive salty flavor is what many people crave, but it can be overwhelming for some, so a creamy option may be a good choice. Gorgonzola Dolce is a creamy blue that has a pleasant tang without being too pungent, while Cambazola has a brie-like flavor and texture. Both will melt beautifully to envelop the burger in that familiar cheesy coating.

If you prefer a strong blue cheese that will have a real punch of flavor, Roquefort and Stilton will both supply that unmistakable umami taste. If you are making your burger patties from scratch, consider adding some blue cheese to the beef mixture to create a delightful surprise as your dinner guests take a bite. Adding some tomato or onion chutney is the perfect way to finish off this superb gourmet burger.

Chili con carne

If half your family is in the mood for burgers but the rest are begging you to make chili, there is a simple and delicious solution: chili con carne burgers. This hearty topping will turn a simple burger into a feast and delight your taste buds with its vibrant Tex-Mex flavors. The key to a great homemade chili is to give it plenty of time to simmer away and let all the flavors develop. Once you have sautéed the onions, garlic, peppers, and tomatoes and browned the beef, add a variety of dried spices and make sure all the ingredients are coated in them. Add beef stock, then allow the whole thing to simmer happily for at least 30 minutes, ideally longer.

Once both your chili and patty have been cooked, it is time to construct this mammoth burger. Start with the beef patty, then heap a generous amount of chili on top. Then, add some traditional Tex-Mex accompaniments on top of the chili — sour cream, grated cheese, and even some guacamole. If this seems like just too many toppings, serve the rest of the accompaniments on the side or even family style in the middle of the table, allowing everyone to customize their incredible chili burger at their own pace.


Mushrooms are a common side dish or topping when eating steak, but for some reason, we tend to overlook them as a burger topping. Well, not anymore, as the depth of flavor and meaty texture they bring means you will never want a burger without them again. Portobello mushrooms have the distinct advantage of being roughly the same size and shape as a beef patty, so if you want a mushroom option with little prep, this is your best choice. 

Simply season the mushroom, then grill or roast until tender before placing it under or on top of the burger and adding your usual toppings. Mustard works particularly well with the umami flavor of the mushroom, so don't leave it out. Alternatively, white wine sautéed mushrooms make a luxurious topping with a real pop of flavor. Fry sliced mushrooms in butter and garlic until they are soft and silky, then spoon onto the top of your patty. While mushrooms can often slip under the radar as a side dish, when added to a burger, they can upgrade it from good to exceptional.

Bacon jam

Most meat lovers enjoy a slice of bacon with their burger, but what if there was a way to improve that even further, to ensure every single bite is full of delicious caramelized bacon flavor? Thankfully, there is, in the form of the wonderful condiment known as bacon jam. If you've never experienced bacon jam before, it is essential that you go and make some right now or whenever you have the chance (but now would be better.) Made from onions, sugar, balsamic vinegar, and, of course, bacon, the ingredients are slow cooked until they form a perfectly balanced sweet and salty chutney that you will struggle not to eat straight from the pan.

To create the perfect burger, spread the bacon jam generously on both halves of the bun to make sure it covers all bases. Cheese goes brilliantly with bacon, so add a slice of cheese, then smear even more bacon jam on top of that because why not? In the unlikely event that you have any bacon jam left over, store it in a jar in the fridge so that you can make the dish all over again in a few days!


To put a fresh, Italian twist on your gourmet burger, add some basil pesto. This vibrant dressing is usually known as a sauce for pasta or drizzling over Caprese salad, but it can be a great topping for a burger too, livening up the rich meat with beautiful Mediterranean flavors. It is easy to buy high-quality pesto in stores these days, but it is much more satisfying and delicious to make your own, and it takes virtually no time at all. The word "pesto" originates from Italian and it means "to pound or crush" in English, so if you want to make a totally authentic version, leave the food processor in the cupboard and grab your mortar and pestle. 

To make a bright, fresh pesto, crush pine nuts, garlic, capers, and basil in the mortar with the pestle before adding olive oil as well as lemon juice, lemon zest, and some finely grated parmesan cheese. Grind the mixture until you have a coarse paste with a vibrant green color. The strong umami flavor will match a variety of burgers, from traditional beef to chicken or veggie burgers. If you have any pesto left over, you can store it in the fridge and drizzle it over your salads for the rest of the week.


For most of us, a burger wouldn't be complete without a squeeze of mayonnaise on top to give it a creamy note. Why settle for boring old mayo, though, when you can add a bold, pungent replacement in the form of aioli? Aioli is a garlic sauce that is used in Mediterranean countries as a dip and a topping for many dishes. Often thought of as a garlic mayo, it is so much more than that, and the olive oil base gives it a rich texture that far surpasses your usual bottled mayonnaise. Though you can buy it at the grocery store, making your own aioli won't take long, uses ingredients you likely have in your pantry, and will taste much better.

All you need is eggs, garlic, lemon, olive oil, and seasoning, plus a food processor or blender. Blend the solid ingredients with the lemon juice, then slowly add the olive oil, a few drops at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Patience is the key here — go too fast, and the mixture could split, meaning you may have to start again. Once you have made your smooth, silky aioli, add it to the top of your burger, knowing that you will never add bland mayonnaise from the bottle again.


If you want to add a South American slant to your burger, chimichurri sauce is a fresh, zingy option that will have your taste buds dancing with joy. Originating in Argentina and Uruguay, it is packed with fresh herbs, garlic, and vinegar, making it the perfect condiment to balance the meaty flavor of a beef burger. You can make your own chimichurri sauce at home in a matter of minutes, meaning the flavor will be as fresh as possible. 

You can use whatever fresh herbs you like — they are the star of the dish, and using different herbs will affect the flavor — but parsley and cilantro are pretty standard. Use herbs that are as green and vibrant as possible, and don't substitute dried herbs unless you absolutely have to. Chop the herbs finely, along with an onion or shallot and some garlic. Add lemon juice, vinegar, and olive oil and whisk together until the ingredients are combined into a chunky sauce.

The versatility of chimichurri means you can adapt it to suit your mood and the ingredients in your store cupboard. You could add red chilis for extra heat or roasted bell peppers for a sweeter touch. Add the sauce to both halves of your burger bun, along with some pickled onion, for an added sharp kick. It will give the burger a vibrant splash of color and create a delicious upgrade to your dish.